NATALIE BARR, HOST: Dominic Perrottet is set to become the next Premier of New South Wales following the shock resignation of Gladys Berejiklian. Currently the state's Treasurer, Mr Perrottet secured the endorsement of former Prime Minister, John Howard. He's also done a deal with Stuart Ayres to be his new deputy, all but ensuring the numbers to win tomorrow's leadership ballot. The only other contender is Planning Minister, Rob Stokes. For more, I'm joined by Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce and Labour MP, Joel Fitzgibbon. Good morning Gents. Barnaby, a big loss for New South Wales. I think the petition to bring Gladys back is up to over 40,000 people. What do you think about Mr Perrottet? Big shoes to fill.
BARNABY JOYCE, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: Yeah look, Gladys, overwhelmingly, has an incredibly warm feeling with the New South Wales people, and they have one incredibly warm feeling towards her. Incredible loss, a shame. But, Dominic Perrottet, he's a straight shooter, he will have a different style, but I think that he'll be very good for New South Wales and also very good in his work with the Prime Minister for Australia. So you know, the Queen is dead, the king is there, things move on. And that's politics - nasty, brutish, and short. But she did have five elections for the seat of Willoughby, so she's had a good career in politics, and she'll go on to another one.
BARR: Yeah, a lot of people aren't seeing it quite that cut and dry though, Joel. A lot of criticism about the ICAC process, particularly the timing of it. Right as we're about to open in the middle of a pandemic. Should ICAC have taken that into account?
JOEL FITZGIBBON, MEMBER FOR HUNTER: I think ICAC has been a failed experiment, Nat. That's the truth of it. I'm a great supporter of the principle innocent until proven guilty. And with ICAC, for many years, just the opposite has been true. Once you have a referral of any sort to ICAC, you're guilty until proven innocent, and three Liberal Premiers will testify to that fact. None of them ever had any adverse findings against them in the eyes of the law, but were certainly hung out to dry by what I think is effectively a kangaroo court.
BARR: Yeah. Barnaby, a lot of people were saying this on the weekend. She's had to stand down because, you know, the process, because she's being investigated, but she could be cleared and she's still lost her job. How does that work?
JOYCE: That's right. Very badly. Very, very badly. That's how that works. And I agree with Joel 100 per cent. The fact that they come and tell you, oh, you've been referred to ICAC. Well yeah, but you're not proven guilty of anything. You've lost your job. And then they're supposed to stand aside. Well, of course, when the Premier stands aside, it means that they're no longer the Premier. So this is the great, sort of, righteous process, it's a little bit Spanish Inquisition-ous. And the other thing I would say is, we elect politicians, not bureaucrats. The people should be the final arbiter of whether they decide they want someone or not. And ICAC out of control means that the bureaucracy reigns supreme and politicians are basically terrified to do their job. And politicians at times have to make hard decisions. Not that they're corrupt. They're making decisions. And it might be that it's in disagreement with the bureaucracy, but that's their right. That's why people go to a ballot box and they see the name of politicians on the ballot paper, not the names of bureaucrats on the paper. So yeah, the process of ICAC is lauded by the people who want greater power for minority groups against the wishes of the majority. That's how I'd see it.
BARR: Yep. A lot of anger about this. Moving on, Australians could be getting COVID booster shots as early as December. Joel, who should be first in line?
FITZGIBBON: Obviously, frontline workers, as was the case the first time around, Nat. but we should all be taking the first opportunity to secure booster shots. And I think we as politicians should be setting the example for the broader community and getting both our two original vaccines, and of course, the booster shot at the first opportunity. I actually think, there's been a big debate about this, I think that vaccinations should be mandatory for politicians, unless they have an underlying health issue as a reason not to. Because I think we should be setting the standard for the broader Australian community and encouraging people to get vaccinated and to get those booster shots at the first opportunity.
BARR: Yeah. Barnaby, Bill Shorten is calling for mandatory jabs for all federal MPs, as well. What do you think?
JOYCE: Yeah, well, I disagree on this one. I'll get my second shot... I've had my second shot. I'll get my booster shot and so will the vast, vast majority of politicians. I wouldn't be surprised if it's in the mid-90s. But you're just setting some up with the platform to have an argument and it'll just, it'll go on and the ventilation that that argument will have, will actually work contrary to what you want to achieve. So, don't do it. There's no point picking a fight if what you want, you know, hurts for the loud howler, is a bad message that's completely contrary to where you want to go. It's a little bit of the art of politics. It's so slightly different to where Joel is.
BARR: Barnaby, a lot of people would say, are leaders enforcing mandatory jabs in a lot of sectors. Victoria has expanded it to judges, faith leaders, lawyers, journalists, all sorts of people, and you should be leading the country. So why shouldn't you guys be lining up and making sure it's mandatory, or you don't get in that building?
JOYCE: Well, Nat, I will get my... I've already... the vast majority of people will. I will, the vast majority of people will...
BARR: ... But make it mandatory.
JOYCE: The other thing about that building is, as you know, you guys come out and say why can't you, you know, bring people into line? Why can't you do this? You'll just have a massive fight from a couple of people, and then you'll have to - and whilst having that fight, even if they resigned because they couldn't get in, you'll have a message out there that's completely and utterly at odds with what you want to achieve. You'll have every conspiracy theory out there, you'll have every sort of faux-polling, faux-research out there. I know how politics works. I know what they want me to say, because it's the easy answer - mandatory vaccines. I also understand how politics works and that's what would happen next.
BARR: Okay, well, some would say we already have a lot of alternative views out there every day. So...
FITZGIBBON: ... Barnaby Joyce doesn't want a fight.
JOYCE: I had the fight, I just don't...
FITZGIBBON: ... Since he became Deputy Prime Minister, he has no fight left in him.
JOYCE: Mate, I'm a melting ice cream in the heat of politics. I don't think so.
FITZGIBBON: He's been indoctrinated.
BARR: Okay, that's an interesting one. We'll leave you with that for the week. See you next time.